Bulgaria: Declaration of the Council for Electronic Media on the right of privacy

Rayna Nikolova

On 08 July 2015 the Bulgarian state media authority for electronic media, Council for Electronic Media (CEM) adopted a declaration (public statement) which found an insufficient respect of personal privacy and personal data in media content and in the methods of its production. The Council reminds that the publication of personal information and data should be proportionate and not go beyond what is necessary to satisfy the legitimate public interest. Mere curiosity or the pursuit of sensationalism cannot justify the violation of the right to privacy.

According to the declaration, since ordinary people do not play a role in public life, they enjoy a greater degree of respect for their privacy. Their personal data should not be published without their consent. In some exceptional cases, information about a person can be published if the person intentionally or unintentionally attracts the attention of the public in connection with any important event or incident. In any case, when it comes to ordinary people, it should be kept in mind that they have a constitutional right to express their disapproval of being photographed, recorded, etc., and that for any information related to their personal life they should be asked for their explicit consent.


Personal data on children can be collected and distributed only with the consent of their parents or other legal representatives. When it comes to a child in a helpless situation, for example after a road accident and/or a child admitted in a hospital, even the consent of their parents or legal representatives may not be a sufficient justification for the involvement of the child in media material for journalistic purposes. In such cases, it should be considered that damage can be inflicted on the child's welfare with the dissemination of such information and the arousal of public interest.


In media coverage of any unproven crime, the right of the public to be informed should be taken into account, as much as the investigation, prosecution and judicial decisions in other criminal cases. However, media service providers should reflect these events impartially and objectively, without bias and refrain from publishing unverified allegations and claims. In connection to that, it is desirable that suppliers avoid presenting a person as guilty to the public before this person has been sentenced by a court. The media should not intensify the grief of the relatives of the victims, especially of children, and refrain from intensifying their psychological trauma of the experience.

Rayna Nikolova, New Bulgarian University

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Декларация на Съвета за електронни медии относно правото на личен живот (The Declaration of the Council for Electronic Media on the right of privacy)


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